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Shock Absorbers

Every day you depend on a finely woven piece of high-tech cloth to protect you from the bad guys’ bullets.

August 01, 2002  |  by Dave Douglas

Here are some care tips for your soft body armor:

  • Never put your ballistic panels in a washing machine, or have them dry cleaned.
  • Never use bleach to clean even the outside portion of your ballistic panels.
  • Never leave ballistic panels exposed to sunlight or ultraviolet light or in a superheated car trunk for months on end.
  • Wipe the panels clean with a damp cloth and air dry.
  • Store the vest without creasing.
  • Don't fold it.
  • Don't put heavy objects on it.
  • From time to time, remove your ballistic panels from their carrier. Inspect the nylon covering for any breaks or tears. If the nylon cover is broken or torn, it is a potential entry point for damage to the ballistic panel.

  Take care of your vest, and it will take care of you.

Four Degrees of Comfort

Any cop who has ever put on body armor knows that the major drawback to the stuff is that it's really hot and uncomfortable on any warm day. One way to fight this problem is with inserts that cool down the body under the vest.

Don Hacklander is the president of San Diego Police Equipment Co. and an expert on the different types of body armor available throughout the world. I met with him to do part of the research for this article. As I attempted to sit down in one of the overstuffed chairs of the company's conference room, I noticed that there was some ultra-thin foam in the shape of a front vest panel on the seat of the chair. "Go ahead, sit on it," Hacklander said. "We'll talk about it later."

It was a typical Southern California day and the temperature was in the mid-80s. We talked for more than an hour. As we were winding down the training session in body armor 101, Hacklander said, "OK, now change seats with me." Hacklander is an ex-cop that I worked with many times in the early 1980s. I immediately started looking for the whoopee cushion. It wasn't there; this time.

The new seat was really hot in comparison to the one my ample butt just left. Hacklander told me I had been sitting on Armor Ice, a body armor cooling insert distributed by PACA.

Armor Ice is, according to Hacklander, a revolutionary thermal management technology that keeps you comfortable while wearing body armor. Unlike membrane wicking fabrics that transfer limited amounts of moisture, it turns your armor into an active cooling system.

It is laboratory-tested to keep you four to five degrees cooler for extended periods of time. That might not sound like a lot to most people. But most people don't have to wear body armor, let alone wear it in August when it's over 90 degrees in the shade.

American Body Armor
Xtreme ZX

NIJ Standard  01.01.04
Ballistic Fiber    Zylon
Level II
Weight    8.03 oz./sq. ft.
9mm V-50    1,576 fps
Level IIIA
Weight     10.9 oz/sq. ft.
9mm V-50    1,710 fps
www.americanbodyarmor.com



Force One
Responder

NIJ Standard    01.01.04
Ballistic Fiber    Kevlar, Spectra
Level IIA
Weight    10.37 oz./sq. ft.
9mm V-50     1,496 fps
Level II
Weight    13.88 oz./sq. ft.
9mm V-50    1,764 fps
www.forceonearmor.com



PACA (Protective Apparel Corporation of America)
Pegasus Lightning

NIJ Standard    01.01.04
Ballistic Fiber    Zylon, Kevlar, Spectra Goldflex
Level IIA
Weight    10.4 oz./sq. ft.
9mm V-50    1,559 fps
Level II
Weight    12.8 oz./sq. ft.
9mm V-50    1,622 fps
Level IIIA
Weight     14.56 oz./sq. ft.
9mm V-50    1,640 fps
www.paca-vest



Protech Armored Products
Stealth Elite

NIJ Standard    01.01.04
Ballistic Fiber    Zylon
Level IIA
Weight    9.1 oz./sq. ft.
9mm V-50    1,628 fps
Level II
Weight    10.16 oz./sq. ft.
9mm V-50    1,659 fps
Level IIIA
Weight     11.88 oz./sq. ft.
9mm V-50    1,749 fps
www.armorholdings.com



Safariland
Zero G Platinum

NIJ Standard    01.01.04
Ballistic Fiber     Zylon, Spectra Goldflex
Level IIA
Weight    8.64 oz./sq. ft.
9mm V-50    1,473 fps
Level II
Weight    10.88 oz./sq. ft.
9mm V-50    1,654 fps
Level IIIA
Weight     13.44 oz./sq. ft.
9mm V-50    1,775 fps
www.armorholdings.com



Second Chance
Ultima 9th Generation Series

NIJ Standard    01.01.04
Ballistic Fiber    Zylon
Level IIA
Weight    7.04 oz./sq. ft.
9mm V-50    1,600 fps
Level II
Weight    8.48 oz./sq. ft.
9mm V-50    1,717 fps
Level IIIA
Weight     10.72 oz./sq. ft.
9mm V-50    1,808 fps
www.secondchance.com


US Armor
Terminal Velocity Series


NIJ Standard    01.01.04
Ballistic Fiber     Kevlar, Spectra Goldflex, Spectra Shield Plus
Level IIA
Weight    10.52 oz./sq. ft.
9mm V-50    1,532 fps
Level II
Weight    11.75 oz./sq. ft.
9mm V-50    1,582 fps
Level IIIA
Weight     15.98 oz./sq. ft.
9mm V-50    1,744 fps
www.usarmor.com

Dave Douglas has worn a vest many a time in his career as a police officer and knows how important they can be in saving lives. 

«   Page 2 of 2   »

Tags: Body Armor, Force One, PACA, Safariland

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